Emotional Eating in College Student Population
Objective: The aim of the study was to identify links between concrete negative emotional states and food intake amongst college students. The association of anger, sadness, stress, frustration, inadequacy, and fear were associated with unhealthy eating.
Methods: One hundred and fifty college students completed a series of self-report questionnaires containing the Three-Factors Eating Questionnaire-Revised 21 (TFEQ-R21).
Results: Significant positive correlation was found between emotional eating and negative emotions. In particular, students who scored high on the emotional eating scale were more likely to consume unhealthy foods (sweets and high-fat calorie foods) when experiencing anger, sadness, stress, frustration, inadequacy, and fear.
Discussion: College students increased their food consumption in order to reduce their emotional distress and discomfort, evidencing by their emotional eating behavior during those periods in life.
Conclusion: The inability of students to differentiate the physiological hunger from the emotional hunger resulted in the increase of food consumption when experiencing negative emotions, as a coping mechanism.